In 1925, the Minquas Civic Association and Fire Company was organized with Mr. Kelvington as its chief. An Acme chemical wagon was procured and a frame engine house was erected along the state highway. Due to confusion caused by the similarity of names with Minquas of Newport, the name was changed in 1929 to the Minquadale Fire Company, Inc.
As the company grew, better apparatus was obtained. Next came a Steward, another Acme, and then a Ford, all chemical trucks. As time passed and the number of buildings in the area increased, the need for a pumper was realized, so a Reo with a Hale pump was purchased, and housed by Minquas Fire Company of Newport.
Having both the desire and need to expand, lots were obtained on Hazeldell Avenue. A new and larger engine house was built on the property that at present serves as our parking lot. This new building also served as a meeting hall for the membership. At about this time a new USFA pumper was purchased and housed by Mill Creek and Holloway Terrace Fire Companies, with representatives from all companies of New Castle County Present.
1931 revives fond memories of our “old timers”, this being the year our members constructed and equipped a utility wagon. Just as the name implies, it was used for most everything except a pumper. Many times it served to transport accident cases from along the state highway to the Wilmington hospitals. This was also the year our first recorded first aid class was formed, consisting of 12 members.
During World War II, the fire company was the backbone of local civilian defense. While several members answered the call of their country by entering the services, others remained behind acting as air raid wardens and civilian coordinators. In 1948, the company received a Darley Pumper that had been on order for three years, and the first alarm it responded to was an airplane crash at the New Castle Air Base.
With the continued growth of the company more land was acquired, and in 1956 a larger firehouse was erected on its present site. Most of the labor was performed by our members which helped keep costs at a minimum. During 1971, a new engine room was added and the old engine room was converted to a memorial hall. The hall was dedicated to our members past and present. In 2001, the Ladies shut down the catering service for the summer and major renovations began on the banquet hall and bar. The traditional fire hall setting would be transformed into an elegant dining and banquet room; a place that anyone would be proud to have their affair. In the fall, the Ladies catered the affair in the new hall. Once the banquet hall and bar were completed, renovations began on the rest of the fire company to include a new radio room, meeting room, game/TV room and offices for the Executive and Chief’s Departments. Renovations were still underway. With the growing need for more room, in 2004 the property next to the fire house was purchased. It was used to add more parking for guests during banquets and weddings.
Our present membership consists of 55 Life Members, 18 Silver Life Members, 13 Honorary Life Members, 61 Sr. Members and 10 Junior Members, for a total of 157 Members. We are currently averaging 700 Fire and Rescue responses per year. In 1979, a major 5 bay engine room was added to the existing building in order to house our current fleet of apparatus. Our current apparatus consist of, a 1985 12 Passenger Chevy Van, a 1989 Pierce Rescue Pumper 226, two 1993 Pierce Pumpers, 222 & 223, a 1997 Suburban Chief’s Vehicle, 1998 Chevy Brush Unit 221 and a 2000 12 Passenger Chevy Van, which was donated by the estate of Angela and Stanley Dziok.
The ambulance service was introduced in 1961 with the purchase of a used 1957 Cadillac. Since that time, the company has purchased 7 replacement ambulances, the newest of which was placed in service in the Spring of 2000. We are now averaging over 2,000 ambulance calls per year. In 1997, the membership voted to establish two full-time career Firefighters/NREMT-B’s, to insure both fire and ambulance coverage. We currently employ 8 full-time personnel and 8 per-diem personnel.
In September 2001, tragedy befell on our Country when terrorists attacked The World Trade Center in New York and The Pentagon in Washington D.C. killing hundreds of our Brother and Sister Firefighters. This is a day that will live in our hearts forever. Through this tragedy our Nation and Brother and Sister Firefighters have grown closer together.
In 2004, the Minquadale Fire Company decided to apply for a federal grant. A Grant Committee was formed by President Bowden; our first attempt at filing was unsuccessful. In 2004, under the guidance of then County President Chris Coons and hard work from the committee and some of the membership we were awarded the grant which helped to purchase a Polyvent Exhaust System, better fire hose, and other needed equipment.
The Minquadale Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary overcame adversity at the Annual Conference of 2004. Under the Guidance of Chief Brian Shaw, President Barry Bowden and Auxiliary President Debby Masten, we were able to pull off a clean sweep ofFirst Place. After several dry years, we marched to victory in torrential downpour. The Honor Guard was able to bring home a third place trophy as well.
At various times throughout the years, members of this company have held offices and served on committees in the New Castle County, the Delaware State Association of Volunteer Firemen and the New Castle County Chief’s Association; they were Joseph Hojnicki, Sr. and Chuck Taylor.
Minquadale Fire Company has been fortunate in the past years, to have three firefighters honored as Heroic Firefighter of the year by the County Association, Allan “Tex” Thompson, Rusty Haslam and Edward Oneschuk, Jr. Joseph Hojnicki has also been honored in the executive capacity as non-heroic firefighter of the year.
This company stands for two things: efficiency and cooperation. We are striving for the first and desire to get, and want to give the other. With great pride we mention that some of our members took it upon themselves to rebuild and help refurnish three homes of unfortunate fire victims in our district.
Since our 75th Anniversary, we have lost several Life members of the Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary; these members are and were the backbone of the fire company. Their history will live on forever in our hearts.
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129 East Hazeldell Ave. New Castle, DE 19720